Jim Justice: ‘I am the only guy who can win’ in November; Other Democratic candidates disagree
By Shauna Johnson | WV MetroNews
Businessman Jim Justice says there is “no chance on Earth” any of the other Democratic candidates running for governor in West Virginia can win against Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer, 06), the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee, in November.
“They just can’t beat Bill Cole,” Justice said of Booth Goodwin, a former U.S. attorney, and Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall, 02) — his Democratic opponents in the May primary election — during an appearance on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“They can’t win. They just plain can’t win,” he claimed. “They’re not job creators.”
“I think it’s because he can write a big check that he believes that,” Goodwin responded later in the show. “But, here in West Virginia, it’s a different playing field. It really is.”
“I find it surprising that a man who doesn’t pay his bills, pay his fines and has a business currently being held in contempt by a United States Court is opining on how others can’t win,” Kessler said in a statement.
“I will put my record of job creation up against any candidate,” Kessler continued. He cited a list of “creative legislative economic development initiatives” before again issuing a debate challenge.
In the latest MetroNews West Virginia Poll, 32 percent of likely voters said they supported Justice followed by 25 percent for Goodwin, 23 percent for Kessler and 21 percent undecided.
After seeing those numbers, Goodwin said he was “extremely encouraged.”
“I’ve been in this race for a matter of weeks, not months like the other guys. I’m not a millionaire or billionaire or a career politician. I’ve never run for statewide office, so you bet I’m excited that many West Virginians are behind me,” he said.
Within his own internal campaign polls, Justice claimed he was seeing a “significantly bigger lead” than his numbers in the MetroNews West Virginia Poll from Repass Research.
Against Cole individually in that poll, Justice is ten points ahead, Goodwin is in a statistical dead heat with Cole and Kessler trails by five percent. Undecideds in those races range from 12 percent to 15 percent.
“Both of those fellas are good fellas and they mean the very, very best, but you know, all the Democratic Party leaders know, there is no chance on Earth that Booth Goodwin or Jeff Kessler can win in the general election,” Justice concluded.
“I am the only guy who can win.”
Primary Election Day in West Virginia is Tuesday, May 10.